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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

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					                    SEARCH ENGINE
                    OPTIMISATION




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  CONTENTS
  A Retailer's Guide to Search Engine Optimisation             04

  SEO Best and Worst Practice                                  08

  Questions to Ask Your SEO Company                            10

  The Science Behind Search                                    13

  SEO Dos and Don’ts for E-Commerce                            14

  Trends in Non-Paid Search                                    15

  Social Media Optimisation                                    16

  Getting to Know Your Search Engine                           18

  Contributors                                                 22




  FOREWORD & EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


 W        elcome        to    Power
         Special Report on Search Engine
   Optimisation (SEO).
                                         Retail’s                                 In the pages ahead, experienced SEO specialists outline a number of
                                                                                key strategies and techniques for taking maximum advantage of SEO,
                                                                                plus tips for procurement of SEO consultants/agencies, how search
     Since the dawn of the internet, SEO has                                    engines work, best practice examples (and worst practice examples) and
   mirrored the growth and complexity of the                                    much more to help guide your trek through the SEO jungle.
   world wide web. As a marketing discipline,                                     Special thanks to Power Retail’s Nirosha Methananda and Neha Kale
   it’s a living organism – a difficult beast to                                for compiling this report, and to the many experts and retailers who con-
   tame, with a million or more variables to                                    tributed. We hope you find this helpful in the quest for discoverability.
   consider, and there is no such thing as ‘perfect’ in the language of SEO.
     What we want to do is help you get to ‘good’ and beyond. There is            Grant Arnott
   a wealth of literature available on the subject of SEO, but this report        Editor and Publisher
                                                                                  Power Retail
   focuses specifically on how it applies to the online retail environment,
   particularly in the Asia Pacific region.
     As any successful e-commerce retailer will tell you, mastery of SEO is
   critical in establishing competitive advantage – if your customers find
   your competition more easily than they find you, it won’t matter how
   wonderful your customer experience and product and site usability are.




    PUBLISHER                                                                  EVENT PARTNER




    Power Retail is Australia’s leading news and information resource for      Online Retailer is a four-day blizzard of new ideas, problem-solving
    online and multichannel retailers. Featuring regular news, opinion         solutions, career networking, cost-saving resources and quality
    pieces, tutorials, profiles, video, webinars, special reports and a        learning. It's the most comprehensive curriculum on online and
    solution providers marketplace, Power Retail offers online retailers the   multichannel retailing in the Asia Pacific, and it's one of the world's
    fast track to competitive advantage.                                       largest e-commerce and digital marketing events for retailers. 

    www.powerretail.net                                                        www.onlineretailer.net




2 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
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  A Retailer’s Guide to
  Search Engine Optimisation
  WORDS: Nirosha Methananda




 S
              earch engines represent an advertising opportunity for busi-
              nesses who (if optimised) can be found through one click, as               RETAILER’S PERSPECTIVE – SEO RESULTS
              opposed to usually expensive and at times, immeasurable,                   “Organic traffic accounts for 50 percent of our inbound traffic,
              above the line advertising tactics.                                        which roughly translates to approximately 30 to 40 percent of our
    Enter search engine optimisation or as it is more commonly known,                    total revenue. We only started pushing SEO at the end of our first
  SEO. Defined by Wikipedia as: The process of improving the visibility of a             year in business, and since then revenue has grown ten times (we're
  website or a web page in search engines via the ‘natural’ or un-paid (‘organic’ or     currently in our 3rd year of business). From a ‘return on investment’

  ‘algorithmic’) search results.                                                         point of view, this has definitely been one of the best channels we've
                                                                                         invested in and continue to invest in.”
    As search engines become increasingly complex, in order to provide us-
                                                                                         WaiHong Fong, Managing Director, Ozhut Pty Ltd
  ers with highly relevant and personalised results, the practice of SEO has
  also grown exponentially to represent a key component of online success.
    According to Forrester, the Australian internet penetration rate was 77
                                                                                       THE GOOGLE MACHINE
  percent in 2009 and is predicted to reach 83 percent by 2015. In direct
                                                                                       Impossible to ignore and synonymous with online search, Google changed
  correlation to this, Forrester also forecasts that online retail sales will be
                                                                                       the internet and the practice of SEO forever when launched in 1998.
  worth an estimated $33.3 billion by this time.
                                                                                         “What made the difference with Google was its consideration of links
    With internet penetration rates set to boom and coming generations
                                                                                       in search,” highlights Thomas.
  more internet reliant than ever, retailers will need to ensure they are
                                                                                         Where other search engines relied solely on keywords and content,
  discoverable online in order to be competitive via this channel.
                                                                                       “Larry Page and Sergey Brin introduced the theory of following links be-
    The recent Marketing Sherpa ‘2011 Search Marketing Benchmark Report
                                                                                       tween websites. They started to count in-bound links, giving those links
  – SEO Edition’ revealed that SEO is clearly perceived as being the more ef-
                                                                                       weight and by doing this they created a search engine that yielded very
  fective tactic for increasing bottom line and commonly measured objectives
                                                                                       good results. Plus the fact that the website was such an easy, uncluttered
  including: website traffic, lead generation, offline and online sales revenue.
                                                                                       tool to use,” he continues.
  The report indicated that over time, SEO has earned a reputation for being
  a promising tactic and producing measurable return on investment (ROI).




4 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
“All SEO tends to start with keyword
 research and trying to understand
 what keywords people are typing into
 a search engine.”
 —— Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo


  Though algorithms between various search engines differ (see ‘Getting
to Know Your Search Engine’), the Google index comprises websites,               RETAILER’S PERSPECTIVE
indexed by Google ‘spiders’ (which crawl through web pages, analysing            – SEO STRATEGIES
the information contained on them, then following links to other pages           “Generally we work on both onsite and offsite strategies. We invest
and indexing those etc).                                                         heaps to ensure high quality copy that is SEO friendly on every page
  When a query is received, Google’s software searches this index and            of the site. It's also important to ensure page elements such as
then assesses the results based on a combination of over two hundred             images are properly tagged and train all team members to have an
questions (such as: are the keywords in the title, the URL, are there syn-       SEO mentality for every channel of the business.
onyms of the term on the page, links to the page, etc). It then returns the        With offsite, we customise a link building strategy for each site
most relevant webpage in response to the query.                                  that revolves around building relevant/quality links - spammy links
  This dramatic change in search engine behaviour forced website                 are a big no-no as are paid links.
developers to become more savvy and perpetuated the evolution of SEO               Focus on the quick wins. Most people try to hit out on the big,
practice, to achieve prevalence and relevance on the World Wide Web.             but highly competitive terms when starting out in SEO. We tend to
                                                                                 go for the longer tail – where there is less traffic and competition,
                                                                                 but usually better converting terms, at least at the start. There is a
  THE LOW-DOWN ON PAGE RANK                                                      better ROI working on these first.
  Based on an algorithm developed by Google’s Larry Page’s, ‘Page                  I think it's also a good move to work with best of breed software
  Rank’ measures the importance of a website, based on the amount                as opposed to a big system with average functions. In the same way,
  of backlinks it posseses.
                                                                                 SEO consists of a large variety of processes of which some agencies/
    “People think that possessing a high ‘Page Rank’ score and                   people will be better than others in specific tasks. We work with
  receiving links from other websites with high ranks is a good thing            quite a varied group of people to execute link building, content
  – it’s very clear to us that Page Rank is not a particularly important         creation and a big picture strategy.” WaiHong Fong, Managing
  indicator of how well your site is performing in the eyes of Google.           Director, Ozhut Pty Ltd
  It’s about being super relevant and making sure that each page is
  themed appropriately.”
  Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo
                                                                               STRUCTURAL SEO
                                                                               As its name indicates, the structural part of SEO refers to optimising and
                                                                               ensuring that a website is friendly to the user and to the search engines.
SEO ESSENTIALS
                                                                               This may include: 404 error pages, no duplicate content, SEO friendly
Dominic Gluchowski, Search Director at SEO Falcon, purports that SEO
                                                                               navigations, accessibility to search engine spiders and internal linking.
consists of three parts: structural, tactical and promotional.
                                                                                 Gluchowski has the following recommendations for structural SEO:
  “If you think of SEO as a car, the structural and tactical parts are the
                                                                               •	 URLs should be short, clean and descriptive, with no additional jargon.
build of the car and the promotional part is the petrol. You can put a car
                                                                               •	 Navigation should be clean and crawlable (by spiders), to ensure that
on the racetrack, however it won’t go anywhere without the petrol – so
                                                                                 the most important pages on your website can be indexed.
promotion is a very important part of SEO.”
                                                                               •	 Page titles should be descriptive of the page content, kept within 69
  These three activities contribute to the following factors, listed by Phil
                                                                                 characters and include your keywords where possible. Ideally someone
Leahy, Director Asia Pacific, SEOmoves, which are taken into account by
                                                                                 coming across your page in search results will know exactly what it is
search engines when returning search query results:
                                                                                 about. Page titles should also be kept consistent across different types
  Visibility – the site must be well organised and structured to make it
                                                                                 of pages (e.g. product page titles could be structured in similar ways,
easy for the search engine to index it;
                                                                                 where category page titles a bit differently, etc.).
  Reputation – you have to strive to be a leader in the delivery of mean-
                                                                               •	 Images should be titled appropriately with ‘alt tags’ that describe the
ingful and quality information; and
                                                                                 image. As search engines are not able to ‘see’ images, they assess the
  Relevance – the site has to be relevant to user’s searching, so keyword
                                                                                 text information in determining the context of the image.
research is critical to setting up your site.




                                                                                                                          SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION        5
“If you think of SEO as a car, the structural and tactical
 parts are the build of the car and the promotional
 part is the petrol. You can put a car on the racetrack,
 however it won’t go anywhere without the petrol
 – so promotion is a very important part of SEO.”
 —— Dominic Gluchowski,
 Search Director at SEO Falcon

  TACTICAL SEO                                                                     “Also making sure that you have good internal linking structure assists
  Tactical SEO involves activities to ensure maximum impact based on an          with SEO. Whenever you mention something that you have on another
  SEO budget and competitiveness – of this, one of the most important            page within copy, link them together – so that Google can crawl and in-
  parts of tactical SEO is keyword research.                                     dex those pages too. Good internal linking structure means that all pages
    “All SEO tends to start with keyword research and trying to understand       can be accessed within three steps.”
  what keywords people are typing into a search engine,” comments
                                                                                 PROMOTIONAL SEO
  Thomas.
                                                                                 Described as ‘SEO petrol’, promotional SEO drives authority with search
    According to Jeff Quipp of Search Engine People Inc, featured in the
                                                                                 engines in visiting and indexing your website within their libraries. This
  Hubspot ‘Learning SEO from The Experts’, retailers should consider the
                                                                                 is done primarily through getting  a variety  of high quality, authoritive
  following when developing their keyword list:
                                                                                 websites to link back to your website, through various initiatives such as:

  •	 Listing root brands and product/service names (e.g. TV);
                                                                                 •	 Press Releases;
  •	 Brainstorming variations of product and brand related keywords (e.g.
                                                                                 •	 Business Directories;
    TV’s, LCD’s);
                                                                                 •	 Social Bookmarks;
  •	 Talking to clients to determine what terms they use in search;
                                                                                 •	 Leveraging existing content;
  •	 Studying competitors’ sites;
                                                                                 •	 Analysis of competitor backlinks;
  •	 Adding geographic variations (e.g. TV Australia, TV Melbourne);
                                                                                 •	 Video Syndication;
  •	 Adding descriptive variations (e.g. LED 40 inch TV);
                                                                                 •	 Blogging;
  •	 Taking all the variations and entering them into the Google AdWords
                                                                                 •	 Social Media; and
    Keyword Tool, which will suggest numerous other variations.
                                                                                 •	 Sponsorships.

    There are various tools available to analyse keywords, which are listed
                                                                                   With the changes brought about by Google, links remain of key impor-
  later on in our ‘SEO Reference Tools’ section.
                                                                                 tance to promotional SEO.
    “Once established, making sure keywords are positioned on appro-
                                                                                   “Focusing on getting links to a very few high quality business directo-
  priate pages, in certain sections of each page (such as the title tag) is an
                                                                                 ries (such as Business.com, Yahoo!7 Directory, Best of The Web Directory
  incredibly important signal to Google about the content on your page.
                                                                                 and the JoeAnt.com Directory to name a few) is a good place to start,”
  Don’t over-spam your title tags with copious amounts of keywords oth-
                                                                                 suggests Gluchowski. “They do cost a lot of money, but they don’t accept
  erwise you will dilute the message. You really want your title tags to be
                                                                                 any spammy websites – which means that your website will be regarded
  limited to one or two phrases at the most,” advises Thomas.
                                                                                 as having a much higher authority with search engines.”
    “Also, ideally while you’re developing a site map, you’d include key-
                                                                                   Another way to improve the authority of your website is by getting
  words in file structures and page names, so from top to bottom the page is
                                                                                 your name out there so to speak. “If you appear in press Google is more
  very clearly about very specific keyword terms,” he concluded.
                                                                                 likely to trust you. You should be issuing press releases every four to six
    “You need to make sure that you can compete for words according to
                                                                                 weeks, which should be sent out through a reputable distribution service,
  your SEO budget. There is no point optimising for search terms that are
                                                                                 who are recognised and hold authority with search engines.” Gluchowski
  too competitive for your budget, which you will never be able to rank
                                                                                 advises that retailers should also be looking at other online avenues
  highly for,” advises Gluchowski.
                                                                                 through which to leverage search authority and relevance. For example,
    Another element that is important for successful tactical SEO, is adding
                                                                                 retailers with bricks and mortar stores should make sure all of their loca-
  content to your website on a regular basis.
                                                                                 tions are entered and optimised for Google Places, with relevant product
    “Content creation is very important – in terms of traffic, you will find
                                                                                 information, etc.
  that you get much more traffic from lower level search terms from within
                                                                                   He recommends leveraging social networks, such as Facebook and
  the content on your site. The approximate breakdown of traffic in terms of
                                                                                 Linked In, whose listings also appear in search results and can add weight
  search terms is: 10% of traffic from high-level search terms, 10-20% from
                                                                                 to your website as being a legitimate business.
  mid-volume search terms and 70% from the long tail,” says Gluchowski.




6 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
LINKING METHODS:

                                           INPUT METHOD                          LOCATION OF LINKS                     VALUE/AUTHORITY

 MANUAL LINK BUILDING                      LINK BUILDER INPUTS                   COMMENTS SECTIONS OF                  LITTLE OR NO VALUE
                                           LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES               OTHER WEBSITES, SOCIAL
                                                                                 NETWORKING PROFILES,
                                                                                 ONLINE DIRECTORIES

 MIXTURE OF MANUAL AND                     LINK BUILDER AND                      EXTERNAL WEBSITES –                   MEDIUM VALUE/
 EDITORIAL INPUT                           EDITORS AT EXTERNAL                   INVOLVES CONTACTING                   AUTHORITY – DEPENDENT
                                           WEBSITES                              SITE EDITORS TO                       ON THE SITES YOU GET TO
                                                                                 INTRODUCE CONTENT                     LINK
                                                                                 AND GET THEM TO LINK TO
                                                                                 YOUR SITE

 COMPLETELY EDITORIAL                      ORGANIC UNPROMPTED                    EXTERNAL WEBSITES –                   MEDIUM TO HIGH VALUE/
                                           LINKS                                 LINK TO YOUR SITE AND                 AUTHORITY
                                                                                 CONTENT WITHOUT ANY
                                                                                 PROMPTING AND/OR
                                                                                 CONTACT


Source: Hubspot, ‘Learning SEO From The Experts: A Step-By-Step Guide’, Year Unknown http://www.hubspot.com/



                                                                                   “By creating a company page with Linked In and getting your employ-
 SEO REFERENCE TOOLS
                                                                                 ees to add your website as a link within their profile creates authority
 Google Keyword Tool – adwords.google.com/
                                                                                 with Google, because ‘spammy’ websites wouldn’t have many employees.
   Google has quite a powerful keyword tool, which shows the local               Photos on Flickr, Facebook and Twitter also contribute to your authority,
 and global traffic on particular keywords, variations of the keyword            although these listings do not hold as much weight at the moment, but
 and provides a comprehensive indication of which keywords to                    are likely to in the future,” he concluded.
 target for your SEO efforts.                                                      “You can have the smartest person in the world developing your web-
   SEO Chat Keyword Difficulty Check Tool – www.seochat.com/                     site, write thousands of page of content, but if no one links to it – your
 seo-tools/keyword-difficulty/                                                   site won’t be found online.” This is where quality link building plays its
   You can see how difficult it would be to rank for specific keywords           part and getting quality sites to link to you equates to quality in Google’s
 or keyword phrases. This tool issues a percentage score that                    eyes,” says Leahy.
 indicates how difficult it would be to rank on the first page for this            Backlinking or link baiting is the process of creating pieces of content
 term; higher percentages mean greater difficulty.                               that are issued via the internet, so that other people can put the content
   Yahoo! Site Explorer -                                                        on their websites and in turn provide links back to you.
 http://www.siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/
                                                                                 FUTURE PROOFING FOR SEO
   Yahoo! provides a free tool that lists up to 1,000 of the links to
                                                                                 Given that search engines are rapidly changing machines, how can retail-
 any site. Enter your domain name on a particular page, select the
                                                                                 ers go about future proofing their SEO strategies in order to remain com-
 ‘Inlinks’ button, and change the settings to ‘Show links: except from
                                                                                 petitive online?
 this domain.’ Also select ‘to: entire site’ if you’d like to see links to the
                                                                                   Thomas advises that retailers need to examine their analytics. “If you’ve
 whole site rather than just a single page.
                                                                                 got 90 percent of your traffic coming from Google, I would be looking at
   These links are not in any particular order and the list will include
                                                                                 other ways to get traffic to your website. Look at Facebook and Facebook
 links that do not pass any value as well as those that do.
                                                                                 ads, try to get traffic from Bing, perhaps even look outside search engines
   Open Site Explorer - http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/
                                                                                 and advertise above the line to get your brand better known,”he says.
   This tool provides information about the top 1,000 links to a
                                                                                   “Make your own website work harder, ensure a quality experience by
 site. These can be filtered to exclude links that do not pass value.
                                                                                 engaging usability testing, improving conversion rates, etc. Also try to
 Additional information about each link includes the anchor text used
                                                                                 optimise all of your content, such as images, videos, etc.”
 and the authority of each linking page.
                                                                                   “From a technical SEO perspective, there is no such thing as a future-
   The Open Site Explorer tool also includes reports that showcase
                                                                                 proofing strategy,” says WaiHong Fon, Managing Director for Ozhut Pty
 the most popular pages on the site, the most common anchor
                                                                                 Ltd.“That being said, the only real strategy is to build an awesome team
 text used to link to a page or site and other information about the
                                                                                 of switched-on, passionate and humble (willing to learn) digital market-
 strength of the page.
                                                                                 ers who will adapt and surf whatever wave Google throws at us next.”




                                                                                                                           SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION           7
  SEO Best and Worst
  Practice Examples
  WORDS: Nirosha Methananda




    SITES TO WATCH
    BEST PRACTICE SEO
    RETAILERS
    Our resident SEO experts give their
    examples of retail websites, which are best
    practice examples of SEO.

    “When we met with Ozhut, I was
    absolutely blown away by how far
    advanced they are in terms of SEO and
    the incredible theming of each of the
    niche websites that they have put out.
    They aren’t a big DealsDirect or Harvey
    Norman retailer, but they basically create
    separate websites for each niche they
    operate out of and each is considered a
    separate SEO project.

    “This means when you type single-word
    keywords into Google, such as ‘telescopes’,
    ‘binoculars’, etc and see them coming up
    time and time again in the number one
    position for those keywords, you have to
    say that they’re doing something right.

    “I think that a lot of the bigger
    e-commerce sites, such as Myer and David
    Jones, should really be watching out for
    these sorts of players.”

    Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo




    “Everything has been ticked off with this
    site – they’ve got a good amount of links
    pointing at them, they’ve got great title
    tags, really well structured content –
    they’re really tight.”

    Phil Leahy, Director Asia Pacific, SEOmoves




8 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
NEGATIVE SEO
NOT ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD ONLINE
                                                                            “Hello, My name is Stanley with DecorMyEyes.com, I just wanted to let you
“Negative articles are great for traffic, use the word scam, people flock
                                                                            guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the
to it… it’s the best for getting traffic,” says Phil Leahy, Director Asia
                                                                            more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement. It’s all part
Pacific, SEOmoves.
                                                                            of a sales strategy. Online chatter about DecorMyEyes, even furious online
However, in the recent case of Vitaly Borker owner of the now               chatter, pushed the site higher in Google search results, which led to greater
infamous ‘DécorMyEyes.com’ – it was a case of all publicity is not good     sales. I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I
publicity and a lesson to all those who are unethical and/or leverage       am in heaven.”
negative publicity to drive search results.
                                                                            “He’s on the radar – as soon as you’re on the radar, Google might not
The retailer who purported to sell luxury eyeglasses through his website,   comment on it, they mightn’t act straight away, but they’ll do it. They
was allegedly operating a scheme to defraud his customers by selling        have a whole team of people, ready to get scoundrels and unplug
counterfeit and inferior quality goods, making un-authorised charges to     them,” concluded Leahy.
their account, and retaliating to their subsequent complaints through a
                                                                            True to this statement, Google has apparently modified its algorithms
pattern of cyberstalking and threats – was enjoying the online publicity,
                                                                            to ensure such businesses can’t rort the search engine system to their
which pushed his website to the top of the Google search results.
                                                                            advantage in this manner.
What made waves in the digital marketing world was that Borker
used his vicious treatment of customers to propel his business’ search
rankings, taunting aggrieved clients by implying their complaints were
fantastic for business, he posted the following in response to all of the
negative comments (quoted by the New York Times):




                                                                                                                          SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION         9
   Questions to Ask
   Your SEO Company
   WORDS: Dominic Gluchowski




  S
              earch engine optimisation (SEO) can have a significant impact           To calculate the ROI, you will need to provide potential SEO companies
              on your business by attracting sales, leads and visitors to your      with a number of statistics including:
              site. Good SEO involves ensuring your website ranks within            •	 Average sale/lead price
              the first few organic results in search engines for terms that        •	 Average conversion rate of a visitor to sale or lead to the sale
   are commonly used by your desired audience. Organic results differ from          •	 Number of current visitors from organic search.
   pay-per-click (PPC), also known as search engine marketing (SEM), which            In the absence of some of these statistics, the industry average data can
   generally relate to text ads that appear at the top and right-hand side of       be used so there are no excuses to not include ROI in the proposal.
   a search engine.
     However, hiring a SEO firm can be a daunting process and requires a              FAST FACTS
   strong level of SEO understanding. Google’s ranking formula continues
   to evolve on a regular basis – it’s changed more than twice a day in the first
                                                                                      RETURN ON INVESTMENT
   six months of 2010 alone. The lack of a guaranteed method to boost web-            Including ROI calculations in your proposal can open discussion
   site search results coupled with the levels of competition across various          about factoring a revenue-based performance fee within the
   industries further complicates the task of choosing the best firm. Hope-           agreement. The right reward could highly motivate your SEO firm
   fully, the following key questions will help you make the most informed
                                                                                      to deliver the best results. However, it is unlikely that a reputable
   decision when hiring a SEO company.
                                                                                      SEO firm would accept revenue-based performance fees for a poorly
                                                                                      designed or outdated site.
   1. CAN YOU INCLUDE RETURN ON INVESTMENT
   (ROI) ESTIMATIONS IN THE PROPOSAL?
   Measuring ROI is undoubtedly the best way of understanding if your
                                                                                    2. DOES MY WEBSITE NEED A REDESIGN?
   investment is likely to generate a return for your business. You should
                                                                                    Website design has a major role to play in the online customer experience.
   ensure that your SEO timeframes are included along with the costs of that
                                                                                    Investing money in SEO while having a poorly designed or outdated
   time period (e.g. if the ROI calculated for three years, and the length of the
                                                                                    website without a clear message is like paying for a TV advertisement
   SEO project is one year, then it is important to note the ongoing charges for
                                                                                    while maintaining an untidy shop with bad customer service. Good
   the remaining two years to rank highly across search engines). Remember
                                                                                    website design leads to a higher conversion rates, a significantly better
   that it will usually take three to nine months to start seeing results.
                                                                                    ROI and is a powerful investment in your client experience.




10 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
“Measuring return on investment is
 undoubtedly the best way of understanding
 if your investment is likely to generate a
 return for your business.”

3. WILL IT BE POSSIBLE TO IMPLEMENT ALL OF THE                                      Link baiting: creation and distribution of strong, unique content as
RECOMMENDATIONS ON MY WEBSITE AND WHAT RESOURCES                                  well as tools that go viral and result in other websites linking to yours.
WILL I REQUIRE FOR THIS PROJECT?                                                    Competitor link strategy: obtaining links from the highest quality
One of the major issues companies face when it comes to search is                 websites currently linking to your competitors.
that their website does not allow them to implement major SEO                       Internal linking: linking within your own website to different pages.
recommendations. This is often caused by content management systems                 External linking: linking from your website to other sites with compli-
that restrict changes to certain parts of a site. It is important to take this    mentary content.
into account when preparing your SEO strategy.                                      Deep linking submissions: obtaining back-links to pages other than
  The second biggest problem is a lack of resources available to imple-           your homepage (e.g. category and product pages).
ment recommendations. Ensure that your agency clearly outlines the
resources required from your side for each one of the SEO tasks. You                AUTOMATED LINK GENERATION
should clarify who will take responsibility for tasks such as writing press
                                                                                    DANGER ZONE
releases or populating your website with recommended content.
                                                                                    Automated link generation is often counterproductive to building
                                                                                    your long-term brand. As some search engines use filters to penalise
4. HOW COMPETITIVE IS SEO WITHIN MY INDUSTRY? CAN YOU                               artificial link building, automatic link generation often results in
OFFER SEO STATISTICS THAT PROVIDE ANY INSIGHT?                                      short-term gains and long-term pain. Link exchanges that do not
As every industry is different, SEO is far from a one-size-fits-all solution.       complement your content can negatively impact on the trust that
Various websites might already incorporate SEO modules or have been                 Google assigns to your website.
subject to previous optimisation work. By asking this question you can
                                                                                    You should always receive a written commitment stating:
determine if the SEO agency has done their homework.
  You should expect a response that focuses on Page Rank (Google as-                •	 Timeframes accounting for the number of back-links added
                                                                                      each month.
signs each website a ranking from zero, being the least trustworthy, to 10
                                                                                    •	 Number and quality (Page Rank) of back-links from each type
being the most) and most importantly on the quality, quantity and types
                                                                                      of websites.
of websites that link to your site. Failing to do this is problematic as these
                                                                                    •	 Number of internal pages of your website that back-links will be
metrics are key to designing a custom SEO solution. Custom solutions
                                                                                      pointing to (the pages with back-links will be most prominent in
provide significant savings by focusing on the highest-impact SEO ele-
                                                                                      the search results).
ments and avoiding duplication.
                                                                                    •	 Ongoing back-link costs (i.e. reoccurring annual business directories
                                                                                      charges) - avoid removal of back-links from quality websites.

5. CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR LINK MARKETING
STRATEGY IN DETAIL?
                                                                                  6. WHAT WILL THE KEYWORD RECOMMENDATIONS
Link marketing (also known as back-linking) relates to initiatives and
                                                                                  BE BASED ON?
activities that invite external websites to link back to your site. This is one
                                                                                  Research is critical to determining the relevant, targeted keywords
of the most effective elements of SEO.
                                                                                  required for a successful SEO campaign and this is based on as large a
  The link marketing proposal module should include a descriptive list-
                                                                                  sample size as possible. It is easy to obtain paid and free data sources that
ing of the types of websites that link to your site; the number of unique
                                                                                  offer sample sizes in excess of 2.5 million Australians.
links added each month and a minimum Page Rank commitment.
                                                                                    Keyword recommendations should be based on the search terms, which
  Link marketing is about obtaining links from various types of trust-
                                                                                  your website will be able to rank within the first few results when taking
worthy websites (with a Page Rank of three and higher). The increase
                                                                                  your budget into consideration. Budget should be based on industry
in the number of back-links needs to be consistent over a long period of
                                                                                  competitiveness and the estimated ROI.
time (preferably three to 24 months) for search engines to recognise your
                                                                                    Having a low to medium sized budget in a competitive industry will
growth as your website increases its popularity.
                                                                                  mean targeting less competitive search terms (usually low search volume
  It is critical that your agency commit to obtaining back-links from
                                                                                  keywords), as there is no point optimising your website for competitive
websites with a minimum Page Rank of three for business directories and
                                                                                  search terms that it will never rank for.
a rank of five for press release distribution services. This commitment
                                                                                    According to research completed by leading SEO research firm, SEOmoz,
should be included in the SEO agreement.
                                                                                  it is vital to aim for a number one ranking for the highest volume search
  Link marketing should comprise various initiatives, as it’s not the best
                                                                                  terms. As you can see in the following example, the first result receives
practice to receive back-links only from one type of site. The available
                                                                                  over 42 percent of clicks and the second result receives 3.5 times less.
initiatives are:




                                                                                                                              SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION          11
                                                                                  SEO BEST PRACTICE
                                                                                  WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
                                                                                  Make sure you analyse the following elements for all client
                                                                                  references provided; your key priorities should be user experience,
                                                                                  consistency and adherence to SEO requirements. While completing
                                                                                  this analysis, ask yourself: does all of the text make sense and drive
                                                                                  the reader to make a purchase or is it spammed with search terms?

                                                                                  	     	
                                                                                        P
                                                                                      •		 age	Titles (e.g. the blue title in the search results) – the most
                                                                                        important search terms should be within the first 69 characters.
                                                                                        You should also analyse the structure of page titles.
                                                                                  	     	
                                                                                        M
                                                                                      •		 eta Descriptions (e.g. the description underneath the blue
                                                                                        title in the search results) – this should persuade users to click
                                                                                        on the link to the website.
                                                                                  	     B
                                                                                      •		 ody Text and Headings - keywords do not need to be
                                                                                        repeated many times.
   Source: SEOmoz 2009
                                                                                  	   •C
                                                                                      	 		 ategory pages – these should include category names in the
                                                                                        same places across all category pages (this also applies to product
     GETTING AHEAD WITH GOOGLE ADWORDS                                                  pages). Consistency is the key to a strong customer experience as
                                                                                        it help users to understand where they are within the website.
     Google Adwords is a powerful SEO resource that can significantly
     increase your company’s chances of being found online. The service               When you find any discrepancies you should ask the agency about
     works on a pay-per-click basis and displays your ad alongside                them, as clients can sometimes make independent changes which
     search results when someone performs a Google search using one               might contradict their recommendations.
     of your keywords.
       Adwords will place your ad under the ‘Sponsored Links’ section of
     the search page and may appear above the free search results – this        there might be a good reason for not targeting these terms. The most
     has the advantage of advertising to an audience that has already           important part of due diligence is double-checking with the marketing
     engaged with your business.                                                managers or webmasters responsible for these sites that all SEO work
                                                                                met their expectations. Many companies hiring SEO companies fail to
                                                                                verify these credentials to discover that companies may not have done as
   7.HOW WILL YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC BE MONITORED AND                             much SEO work as they claim to have.
   MEASURED? WHAT TYPE OF REPORTS WILL YOU GET AND
   HOW OFTEN WILL YOU RECEIVE THEM?
                                                                                9. DO THEY HAVE LONG-TERM SATISFIED CLIENTS?
   The aim of the report is to demonstrate the results of the project as well
                                                                                Make sure you confirm the long-term satisfaction of your agency’s
   as to help to identify actionable insights. Reporting should comprise
                                                                                clients by obtaining testimonials and/or verbal references. Can they
   a one-page dashboard in conjunction with an executive summary
                                                                                provide detailed case studies indicating ROI results and the search
   outlining key insights. A more detailed report should be provided to
                                                                                engine positions achieved for their clients? It is crucial that the SEO
   companies with more resources. Reports should compare results over
                                                                                company provide case studies incorporating ROI. This indicates that
   time and should include:
                                                                                they are ROI-driven and can demonstrate the value they bring to their
   •	 Sales                                                                     clients. The ROI should always be based on sales or leads from non-
   •	 Leads                                                                     branded organic traffic. This means that the sales and leads generated
   •	 Conversions                                                               from searches for the brand names are not counted as part of ROI. This
   •	 Traffic                                                                   is important because searches for the brand could be generated by TV
   •	 Rankings                                                                  campaigns and other marketing initiatives.
   •	 Channel performance                                                         Search for your agency’s name, as well as their reviews. Go through at
                                                                                least three pages of search results to check if there are any mentions of
   8. CAN YOU PROVIDE ME WITH THE THREE MOST
                                                                                negative client experiences. It is important to investigate any of these
   COMPETITIVE SEARCH TERMS THAT YOUR CLIENTS HAVE
                                                                                claims by calling the person making them, as well as speaking to directly
   RANKED FOR? DO THEY STILL RANK WELL FOR THESE?
                                                                                to your agency about them.
   It is important to audit your SEO agency’s claims and ensure their
   legitimacy. Due diligence processes should be comprehensive and take
   into account competitive search terms as well as current rankings. Double
   check these results in Google making sure you clear your cache and reset
   cookies in your browser to avoid personalisation of your search results.
   It is also a good idea to check the search volumes in Google Adwords
   Keyword Tool to understand if there are any higher volume search terms
   that their clients might be better off ranking for. If you find the higher
   volume keywords then ask your SEO company for an explanation as




12 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
The Science Behind Search
WORDS: Frank Grasso, CEO at e-channel search




H
                 ave you ever wondered why American online retailers are so successful? There is a simple explanation - they are brilliantly optimised.
                   We can learn a lot from the Americans. A recent US-based Internet Retailer survey revealed Australia ranks in their top three markets
                 for generating web sales outside of the US. It is more disturbing that some of these retailers admitted to winning this business with-
                 out offering the necessary features and functions designed to cater for international shoppers. US-based online retailers are winning
                 Australian business mainly due to the effectiveness of their search engine optimisation and paid search techniques.
  Forrester Research and AC Nielsen discovered that 62 to 78 percent of Australian internet users are online shoppers. They also estimate Australian
online spending will reach a staggering $32 billion by 2012. IBISWorld predict online sales will eventually hit $75 billion as more retailers increase the
efficiency and reliability of their online channels.
  We need to beat our American counterparts and the rest of the world at search in order to remain competitive and regain market share for Australia’s
lucrative online retail businesses. To achieve this we can either optimise for organic search and/or use paid search methods.



These are my top five ways of improving search engine optimisation:               My top five search engine marketing tips are as follows:

1. USE UNIQUE TITLE TAGS                                                          1. MATCH KEYWORDS TO LANDING PAGES
Each page requires a unique title. Used by both the searcher and your             By matching keywords to landing pages you instantly improve the
search engine, a unique title tag summarises web page content while               quality of the ad. This improves the experience for the customer who
acting as the descriptor for your webpage and attracting attention in the         is sent to the landing page that matches their search intent, delivering
search engine results.                                                            a higher click-through rate, which attracts a better ‘Quality Score’ from
  You need to ensure keywords relate to the content of your page, that            search engines and reduces the cost-per-click.
you invest time in researching keyword phrases and place them towards
                                                                                  2. WRITE ADS THAT ENCOURAGE CLICKS
the beginning of the title.
                                                                                  Make sure you design landing pages to match ads. If you are running a
2. TREAT THE DESCRIPTOR TAG AS AN AD                                              pay-per-click (PPC) campaign and have an ad with the headline, ‘Cheapest
As the introduction to your website, the ‘descriptor tag’ will determine          Apple iPads’, then you need to write a headline for the landing page
whether the searcher reads on. You need to write a compelling descriptor          that matches this. Make sure you match your headline to the visitor’s
tag, as you would an ad and always include relevant keywords. The                 expectations.
‘descriptor tag’ is sometimes shown in the search engine results under the
                                                                                  3. EXPAND THE CAMPAIGN
‘title tag’, so it is important your descriptor tag is targeted towards both
                                                                                  Categorise and subcategorise - structure ad groups for keywords that
searchers and search engines.
                                                                                  mean the same thing. It is easier to write more compelling ads to
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIGHER-RANKING WEBSITES                                      correspond to keyword groups.
If another webpage relevant to your business is ranking higher than
                                                                                  4. PREQUALIFY ADS BY USING PRICE OR OTHER PRODUCT
yours, take advantage of it. If you can’t beat them, join them! If it is a blog
                                                                                  DESCRIPTORS IN THE AD
or a review site, advertise and get exposure on their site. If a television
                                                                                  If your plasma costs $950, tell your searchers beforehand so you’re not
review site is reviewing the latest Sony Plasma, place an ad on the review
                                                                                  wasting a click. Eliminate searchers that are just searching for the best
page as a response. If you find a blog discussing your product, it would
                                                                                  price by exposing them to the price of your product before they click. If
be smart to link to it.
                                                                                  they have seen the same plasma TV for $900 they won’t click on your ad
4. LINKS STILL MATTER                                                             and waste your AdWords spend.
Links are the backbone of Google’s Page Rank. Google counts the links
                                                                                  5. USE NEGATIVE KEYWORDS
to your site and gauges the quality, quantity and credibility of these
                                                                                  If you are selling premium plasma televisions, eliminate negative
links. Armed with this knowledge, Google either increases or decreases
                                                                                  keywords such as the word ‘reviews’, so your ads are not attracting people
the relevance of your site against particular keyword searches. In order to
                                                                                  searching for reviews. You are much better off placing ads on a plasma
increase relevancy and improve search engine results you need to build
                                                                                  television review site. Continually refine your negative keywords in order
the right kind of links for your site.
                                                                                  to ensure your ads are showing exclusively to your desired audience.
5. USE YOUR WEBMASTER TOOLS
Use Google’s free Webmaster Tools to set geographical targets for your
site and make sure you geo-target your top-level domain. If your company
is part of a US retailer, you can geo-target Australia to gain a higher search
engine ranking and drive sales.




                                                                                                                           SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION          13
   SEO Dos and Don’ts
   for E-Commerce
   WORDS: Aidan Beanland, SEO and Audience Optimisation Manager, Yahoo7!




 N
                 o longer a value-add or afterthought for businesses with an online presence, search engine optimisation (SEO) should be integral to your
                 internet strategy. Fortunately, search engines can no longer be tricked into ranking sites that are stuffed with repetitive keywords or
                attempt to boost the number of inbound links by submitting to low-quality web directories or spamming forums. However, there are
                some valuable rules to follow to ensure your SEO efforts generate the best return on your investment. Here are 12 factors to consider:

   DO:                                                                           DON’T:
   1. CREATE WEB PAGES FOR HUMANS                                                1. OBSESS OVER RANKINGS
   Repeating keyword phrases just for the sake of improving your rank when       The search results you see may vary according to location and for those
   someone searches on them is likely to scare off any potential customers.      using a mobile device or with a different search history. Rely on your
   It’s worth noting that search engines use some very advanced systems to       analytics reports to tell you what really matters – whether that’s sales
   recognise natural language patterns, so an unnaturally high ‘keyword          volume, email enquiries or newsletter subscriptions.
   density’ is likely to have the opposite effect than what was intended.
                                                                                 2. EXPECT TOO MUCH, TOO SOON
   A well-designed site doesn’t have to compromise between design and
                                                                                 When launching a new site you’re more likely to succeed by targeting specific
   search engine friendliness.
                                                                                 keyword phrases. For example, a new business site for a plumbing company
   2. WORSHIP WEB ANALYTICS                                                      cannot expect to rank well for ‘plumbing services’, but by adding additional
   You should track user activity on all pages, and set up action tags for key   terms that focus the query you might have some success with ‘emergency
   events. Get familiar with the reports and use these to optimise your inflow   plumber Collaroy’ or ‘blocked drain northern beaches’. Build out your site’s
   channels, calculate your return on investment (ROI) and invest your time      content over time, learning what interests and attracts people.
   intelligently. You will be amazed by what you learn about your audience.
                                                                                 3. REPEAT PAGE TITLES
   3. SEEK EXPERT ADVICE                                                         Page titles hold the most algorithmic ‘weight’ in search engine ranking
   A well-regarded search marketing agency or consultant can be a wise           calculations. Don’t forget that a compelling title can improve the chances
   investment. Their objectivity, experience and tools can shed a new light      of a searcher selecting your link over the competition. Ensure that every
   on your potential.                                                            page title is unique and contains the most relevant keyword phrase to
                                                                                 describe the page. If you need to add your company name, do so at the
   4. RESEARCH KEYWORDS
                                                                                 end of the title.
   What are people typing into search engines to find your products or
   services? Are those industry acronyms or buzzwords relevant to potential      4. BUY LINKS
   leads? How should your site’s information architecture be defined by          For the sole purpose of improving your inbound link score in an attempt
   these keywords? A good keyword research project, which is revisited           to gain rankings. Sites buying links in this way have been penalised by
   regularly, can pave the path to success.                                      search engines.

   5. LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA                                                      5. HIDE TEXT
   Search engines now include ‘tweets’ and other social media cues to help       Many years ago search engines weren’t looking for hidden text which
   them ascertain which page is the most relevant to some queries. A solid       was added to boost search rankings without being seen by human
   social media plan can help you win traffic from search engines as well as     users. Nowadays, white text on a white background, ‘cloaking’, CSS and
   social networks.                                                              JavaScript trickery can be detected and may have the opposite effect from
                                                                                 which you intended.
   6. CONSIDER YOUR LINKS
   Don’t link from ‘click here’ when you could incorporate a keyword in the      6. CREATE MULTIPLE URLS FOR THE SAME PAGE
   anchor text of the link (you’ve seen how well Wikipedia ranks for many        Search engines do an amazing job of making sense of most sites, but
   searches, right?). Make sure all your pages can be picked up by search        if yours inadvertently creates more than one URL per page the search
   engines by avoiding JavaScript or Flash navigation menus. Keep it simple      engine can’t confidently rank the right one. You might also lose out by
   and intuitive.                                                                splitting the value you’ve accumulated from other pages that have linked
                                                                                 to it. Solutions exist to counter this problem, but it’s best to plan a site so
                                                                                 that URLs are ‘canonical’ – one URL for each page.




14 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
Trends in non-paid search
THE FACEBOOK FACTOR
“In the both the off and online worlds people are increasingly looking to        “The missing piece of the puzzle for Facebook is that they don’t have a
their friends for advice and opinions, making search a natural place for         search engine. At the moment, if you want to search from Facebook you are
this information to come together. However the signals that engines              taken to Bing, however I think they will bring Bing into Facebook and work
rely on to help people find answers were not representative of their             together to develop an internal search engine, using Bing’s algorithm.”
personal connections and the role these play in making decisions. Bing’s         Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo
partnership with Facebook allows our users to take their friends with
them to search, helping them make better, more informed decisions.               “I think that Facebook certainly has the opportunity to evolve into a
This is only the beginning of a long-term partnership, and people will           company, which could be anything. They could start offering search,
continue to see more from Bing and Facebook in the coming months.”               because they’ve got the traffic.”
Microsoft Spokesperson on behalf of Bing                                         Phil Leahy, Director Asia Pacific, SEOmoves


THE GOOGLE MACHINE
“Google Instant and suggested search have had a big impact on the way              “Google’s understanding of how social signals will affect organic
that people search. We’ve optimised for the suggested search keywords            rankings/traffic it yet to be seen. So far, we've only had confirmation
for a lot of our clients and received a lot more traffic from this.              of the influence of social signals but we haven't seen too much of what
  “There have also been huge algorithmic changes, such as Google                 specifically is being taken into consideration although we can make
Places; these results are having a lot of prominence in the top ten              some guesses.
search results. Since the launch of Google Preview, some very good                 “Localisation is also another interesting direction that we see Google
looking websites receiving a 25 percent lift in traffic, despite organically     trying to take, further highlighted by the recent move to buy Groupon.
ranking lower (fifth or sixth) in search results. We have a feeling that         How this will affect pure play online retailers as Google gives perks for
Google, seeing people clicking on these sites, will factor this into             having physical locations will be very interesting.”
search results and perhaps rank these sites higher.”                             WaiHong Fong, Managing Director, Ozhut Pty Ltd
Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo



REFINING SEARCH
“Consumers are doing what we call ‘search sessions’ – meaning they               “We're seeing a massive spike in web spam. Content farms,
query, refine, click, head back, click, refine, save, etc. In fact, 57 percent   spammers, malware sites, aggregators are creating millions of pages
of these sessions last more than a day, most likely because the engines          every day - pages that are solely designed to pick off search traffic
are not doing a great job at understanding what consumers want. In               and monetize it. Search algorithms have a hard time differentiating
the future, expect to see even more visually organised results both the          between machine-generated pages, relying on many external factors
paid and organic to help consumers accomplish tasks faster.”                     (links, anchor text, etc) to help them. We believe the only way to fix
Microsoft Spokesperson on behalf of Bing                                         this is to bring humans curation back to search.”
                                                                                 Mike Markson, VP of Marketing, Blekko



MOBILE SEARCH
“Mobile search is one of the fastest growing areas of search, nearly             “There is a real science to this - if you do have a mobile optimised site, the
doubling in the past year (2009). A typical mobile customer spends a             trick is to link to that site from your parent site. You need to emphasise
lot of effort on time sensitive tasks – and tends to act quickly based on        to Google that the site is in fact a mobile site, say ‘this is a mobile site’
the information they get from these queries.”                                    somewhere on the page. All of the other SEO principles are the same.”
Microsoft Spokesperson on behalf of Bing                                         Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo



IN THE SEO KNOW
“It’s more about trying to respond and understand what changes                   “Learn from the right people/places. It's important to choose your
are happening. When Google makes changes, we have to respond                     teachers wisely. We stick to the main authorities such as Matt Cutts,
immediately, there is no warning around this – you may be affected               Search Engine Land and SEOmoz just to name a few. Beware the
positively or negatively… so you have to be reactive.”                           generic looking seo know-it-all sites. SEO is a constantly changing
Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo                                       science, so constant learning is very important and even the bigger
                                                                                 names in the industry are learning from each other.”
                                                                                 WaiHong Fong, Managing Director, Ozhut Pty Ltd




                                                                                                                               SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION         15
   Social Media Optimisation
   Key to Inbound
   Marketing Success
   WORDS: Craig Wilson




 D
                  riving traffic to your website         Why is this valuable to you? Being found              A closer look reveals that of the ‘referring
                  should be one of your main           via social media is much more than an                 sites’ traffic on this company site, 24 percent
                  objectives. Attracting relevant,     endorsement or ‘referral’; it’s a vote of             is derived from Twitter, which is also the
                  motivated traffic to the site is     confidence in your site by another person who         third largest source of traffic overall. The
   even more critical and is the basis behind          is, more often than not, related to or interested     rest is divided between blog aggregator sites,
   successful inbound marketing. And that’s            in your area of expertise. It’s like word-of-         dozens of other bloggers and various social
   where social media optimisation (SMO) can           mouth online.                                         networking sites such as Digg, Linked In
   really help.                                          A strong website attracts visitors from a           and Facebook.
     While search engine optimisation (SEO) is all     wide range of sources. If your analytics show           Practising good SMO can also assist your
   about making sure your website turns up in a        that the bulk of your traffic is coming ‘direct’      SEO efforts and boost your Page Rank by
   prominent position on the big search engines        then you are probably relying on traditional          generating much-needed inbound links from
   for selected search terms, SMO is concerned         marketing to get your name out there. But             relevant referring sites.
   with ensuring your website derives traffic from     if that traffic is balanced between ‘direct’,           Nine ways to improve your Social Media
   the plethora of social media networks and           ‘search engines’ and ‘referring sites’ you likely     Optimisation:
   tools found on the web.                             have a well-balanced, well-optimised site             1. Add a Blog to Your Site
     SMO is the method behind making the               and strategy.                                         If you haven’t done so already, launching a
   most of social media activity in order to attract     The ‘search engine’ traffic indicates that          blog is probably the most dynamic step you
   unique visitors to a website’s content. In its      your SEO is working, while the ‘referring             can take to improve your overall web presence.
   simplest form it can mean adding social media       sites’ traffic predominantly reflects your            Static sites attract less links and are less likely
   features and tools such as ‘Share’, ‘Like’ or       SMO efforts.                                          to be shared by others. Blogging, by nature,
   ‘Retweet’ buttons to your content, or being           For example, the analytics for one of my            demands a steady flow of interesting content,
   more socially engaged online yourself through       company sites show that 48 percent of traffic         and in turn gives visitors more reason to share
   blogging, commenting on other blogs and             comes from ‘search engines’, 23 percent ‘direct’      with others and keep coming back to your site.
   discussion groups or posting updates on social      and 29 percent from ‘referring sites’. SMO is         In short, your content becomes more linkable.
   networking sites.                                   responsible for traffic from the ‘referring sites’.




16 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
2. Publish Compelling Content                     6. Submit Content to Other Sites                   9. Study your Analytics
Talking about yourself isn’t enough. Readers      Most industries have several powerful or           It’s easy to monitor your efforts via a few
want helpful, useful, thought-provoking           popular sites dedicated to them. Submitting        simple tools. Google Analytics will show
information. The more of this you publish,        your best content to these sites, to blog          where your traffic is coming from, which social
the more links you’ll attract, the more blog      aggregators or to the relevant section of social   networks are delivering the most and which
aggregators will draw on your information         news sites such as Digg and Delicious can all      content is generating visits and clicks. We
and the more ‘retweets’ and ‘shares’ you’ll       boost traffic and inbound links,                   find that traffic from ‘referring sites’ tends to
receive. Content is king online, and the more     but how far this goes really depends on            be more engaged, staying longer on site and
quality content you publish, the more traffic     the web community and their enthusiasm for         viewing more pages. A few goal funnels will
you will attract.                                 your content.                                      show you whether these visitors are doing
3. Enable Social Sharing and Tagging Tools
This is crucial and can be a massive source
of relevant traffic for your site. The reason
                                                  “Blogging, by nature, demands a steady flow
Twitter delivers 24 percent of the ‘referred’      of interesting content, and in turn gives
traffic to my aforementioned company site
is because we make it as easy as possible          visitors more reason to share with others
for visitors to Retweet our content to their
followers. By embedding a simple Retweet
                                                   and keep coming back to your site. In short,
button on every post visitors can click and        your content becomes more linkable.”
spread the word in seconds. Even better, this
style of endorsement means that it’s more         7. Provide Resources for Users                     what you’d really like them to do, click
likely to drive interested readers to the site.   Post lists of useful sites or blogs, publish       on important content, buy products or
  This also applies to Facebook Share buttons,    guides, create a tool that visitors might find     make enquiries.
Digg buttons and RSS feeds. There are literally   useful. All of these approaches can generate         The bigger social media sites, like
dozens of potential sharing options you could     solid traffic and links and in the social          Facebook, Linked In, YouTube and MySpace
enable on your site, and often it comes down      media sphere generosity tends to generate          provide decent analytics that will inform
to which are the most relevant to your target     reciprocity, so don’t be afraid to invest some     your efforts while more sophisticated tools
audience, or where you are most active online.    effort in ideas that might not always seem like    such as PeopleBrowsr, Research.ly and
4. Make Yourself Easy to Follow                   a direct benefit to your business.                 Klout (among others) can provide very deep
Your website should provide visitors with an      8. Genuinely Participate in the Social Sphere      insight into your social media engagement.
easy way to follow you online. Provide links      Most people can smell a phoney a mile away         Use the information to consistently refine
to your RSS feed, your Twitter, Facebook and      and companies that use social media as a           and inform your strategy and content.
Linked In pages and any other relevant sites      broadcast-only channel aren’t likely to endear       Effective social media optimisation
you are active in. These days you could also      themselves to the social sphere. Converse          requires a 360 degree approach. By
include links to your iPhone or Android app.      with your community, post comments,                publishing content, enabling social
5. Ensure Your Social Network Profiles are        engage followers and ‘join the conversation’.      networking tools, enabling easy following
Complete and Consistent                           Important note: this isn’t an invitation to sell   of your social media accounts, studying
Take the time to complete your profile on         at every turn but rather an opportunity to         analytics and genuinely participating you
every social network you join. Provide a          build relationships and trust.                     will generate substantial relevant traffic from
concise explanation of who you are and what                                                          a broad range of sources.
you do and include a link to your site. Use a                                                          By conducting thorough and professional
consistent image as your avatar between sites,                                                       social media optimisation your website can
whether it is a logo or photo, so others can                                                         progress from being a nice billboard to an
recognise you.                                                                                       inbound marketing asset.




                                                                                                                       SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION        17
   Getting to Know
   Your Search Engine
   WORDS: Neha Kale




   As search engine optimisation (SEO) evolves, getting better acquainted with search
   engines and their attributes, benefits and quirks is pivotal to your business. Power Retail
   spoke to representatives from popular search engines, Google, Bing, blekko and Yahoo,
   for further insights.




                                                                                                          With thanks to Mike Markson,
     ‘BLEKKO’ - HIGHLY                                 and only search a specific set of sites.
                                                                                                          Co-Founder, Blekko
                                                       For instance these slashtag searches will
     TARGETED SEARCH                                   yield the following results:
    “Live since 1 November 2010, our primary              ‘
                                                       •	 	global	warming/conservative’	–	will	
    differentiator is a feature called a 'slashtag',     return global warming websites with a
    which lets users spin search into a specific         conservative slant.
    vertical. The slashtag system allows for a            ‘
                                                       •	 	global	warming	/liberal’	–	will	return	only	
    highly curated search experience. Users can          liberal websites.
    create and edit their own slashtags, with an          ‘
                                                       •	 	global	warming/science’	–	will	generate	a	
    impressive 110,000 slashtags created since           list of science websites.
    blekko’s launch.
                                                         “Think the Wikipedia model meets search
      “For example: a query like ‘global warming’      engine. So far it’s working great - in our first
    - a standard search on blekko will give            week after launch, our users had created
    you great web wide search results, but if          over 30,000 slashtags already - some are in
    you want to limit your search to a specific        really niche categories, like ‘gluten free’ or
    vertical, you can add a slashtag to the query      ‘neuroscience’.




18 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
“Australians are online and they’re looking for your brand
 and your business. You need to be online to respond to their
 interest and convert these consumers into customers!”
 Ross McDonald, Head of Retail and Consumer Goods, Google




  WHAT IS GOOGLE AND                               BEST PRACTICE SEO ADVICE FOR GOOGLE?
  HOW DOES IT WORK?                                “There are various tools related to SEO that people aren’t using often enough. For example,
                                                   listing your business on Google Maps can get you into Google’s natural search results - this is
    Google is a provider of search and
                                                   a free service that does not require a website or a technical background.
  advertising services as well as online tools
                                                     “If you are a new business, or a business moving into online marketing for the first time,
  such as Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube.
                                                   then search engine marketing is going to give you faster results initially while SEO is a better
  The company delivers highly targeted and
                                                   long-term bet.
  relevant advertising through its AdWords
                                                     “It can sometimes be a challenge to ensure your website appears within Google’s natural
  and AdSense platforms.
                                                   search results. If you need to start attracting customers straight away, Google Adwords allows
    Google employs a powerful algorithm,
                                                   you to set up online advertising within thirty minutes. We often hear that business owners
  which it changes on a regular basis to
                                                   are scared of online marketing because of what could go wrong. However, unlike traditional
  help maintain the currency of its search
                                                   advertising, online advertising is highly flexible and can easily be modified according to results.”
  function. It also uses a sophisticated index
  to generate the most up-to-date and
  relevant search results. This index consists
                                                   With thanks to Ross McDonald, Head of Retail and Consumer Goods, Google
  of ‘spiders’ that crawl websites at the same
  pace at which the pages change.
    Google’s Page Rank system rates the
  credibility of a website by assigning a rank
  from zero to 10. A website’s Google Page
  Rank improves every time an external
  website links to it and will increase if these
  sites have a high ranking.




                                                                                                                       SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION         19
  “We’ve found that approximately 66 percent of people are using
   search more frequently to make decisions. In these instances,
   people need a search tool that intelligently surfaces a range of
   information to help them make better choices.”
   Microsoft Spokesperson On Behalf of Bing




     WHAT IS BING AND HOW                          BING'S POINT                                   BEST PRACTICE SEO
     DOES IT WORK?                                 OF DIFFERENCE                                  ADVICE FOR BING
     “Research indicates that people are using     “Bing is a decision engine a tool built        “Unique, high quality content is the
     search today to make decisions, above and     for searches in key decision-oriented          best thing you can do to rank well in all
     beyond simple navigation. Launched in         categories like travel, shopping, health,      engines. Sites in our featured categories
     June 2003, Microsoft designed Bing to help    entertainment and local. Core to a great       may rank higher or lower depending on
     people overcome search overload, which        search experience is relevance of results      their content and how they optimise for
     we define as ‘too many links - not enough     and we’ve continued to make strides in         Bing. We work closely with publishers to
     real information’, to help them with key      this area. We are working to introduce         provide SEO tools and guidance that will
     decisions like buying a product, planning a   features such as best match where we           help them maximise their results. A great
     trip, discovering new music or researching    clearly highlight the ‘best result’ when we    first step is for publishers to submit their
     a health condition.”                          think one exists.                              sitemaps and URLs to ensure the Bing
                                                     “We also provide hard to find                search engine has access to their content.”
                                                   information such as customer service
                                                   phone numbers on the search page
                                                   when available. Content on the web is          With thanks to a Microsoft spokesperson
                                                                                                  on behalf of Bing.
                                                   increasingly dynamic and customers are
                                                   routinely looking for text, audio, video and
                                                   image content - we built Bing to better
                                                   return results that include all of these
                                                   content types.”




20 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
WHAT IS YAHOO! AND HOW DOES IT WORK?                                                            YAHOO!’S POINT
Originally established in 1994 by Stanford Ph.D. students David Filo and Jerry Yang, Yahoo!
                                                                                                OF DIFFERENCE
has grown into a major internet brand with search, content verticals and other web services.
                                                                                                Yahoo’s algorithmic search technology,
Yahoo! is one of the world’s most visited websites, attracting more than half a billion users
                                                                                                ‘Yahoo! Search’, sorts search results in line
each month (Sources: Yahoo!, TechCrunch). The company offers a content, communications
                                                                                                with the relevance of the users search
and community platform providing consumer experiences and advertising.                          query. A single search will offer results
                                                                                                from a regularly updated database, which
  In Australia, a 50-50 partnership was formed between the Seven Network Limited and            captures newly published pages, late
Yahoo! Inc. to create Yahoo!7 in 2006. The newly formed search engine created a point of        breaking news and significant events. It
difference by combining Yahoo! search and communications capabilities, with Seven’s media       might also uncover results from Yahoo!
and entertainment content and marketing capabilities. In January 2011, Yahoo!7 reached          Answers, Yahoo! Video or Flickr (Source:
52.4% of Australia’s online market. (comScore Media Metrix).                                    TechCrunch).




                                                                                                               SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION       21
   About Our Contributors




   FRANK GRASSO                                                              DOMINIC GLUCHOWSKI
   Frank Grasso, CEO of e-channel Search, has been involved in Search        Dominic Gluchowski is a Search Director at boutique search engine
   Engine Marketing (SEM) since the early days of AltaVista and Lycos.       marketing agency, SEO Falcon. He is also a co-founder of www.
   Frank began his search career in Melbourne in 1999 consulting to early    ilovecoupons.com.au and a number of companies currently in stealth
   adopters of SEM. He worked as a Search Engine Marketing consultant        mode. His background is in website optimisation, SEO, sales and
   until 2002, when he moved to Adelaide and formed e-channel Search.        marketing, in which he has worked for the past 10 years.
   Frank went on to develop the multi award winning DynamicCreative™
                                                                             SEO FALCON
   software and now heads e-channel Search, one of Australia’s leading
                                                                             www.seofalcon.com.au
   internet marketing agencies.



   E-CHANNEL SEARCH                                                          CRAIG WILSON
   www.e-channel.com.au                                                      Craig Wilson is Managing Director of Sticky, a digital agency based in
                                                                             Newcastle, Australia that has evolved to encompass: ‘Sticky Advertising’,
                                                                             ‘Get Sticky – Inbound Marketing’ and ‘NLYZR’ website analytics and SEO
   AIDAN BEANLAND                                                            service. His Media Hunter blog is considered one of Australia’s leading
   Aidan Beanland is currently the Regional SEO Manager for Yahoo!7,         marketing blogs. Craig was a speaker/panelist at the 2009 and 2010
   covering Australia and New Zealand as well as advising on international   Australasian Media and Broadcasting Congress and has addressed
   strategy. Aidan has 13 years of search marketing experience with          conferences for some of the country’s leading businesses on topics
   a focus on SEO, but he has worked across all types of paid search         ranging from SEO, the changing media and marketing landscape and
   campaigns. Aidan is a search marketing and communications specialist      inbound marketing.
   with global internet marketing, management, publishing and client
   management expertise.
                                                                             STICKY
                                                                             www.stickyads.com.au
   YAHOO!7
   www.au.yahoo.com




   WITH THANKS
   Chris Thomas, Chief Search Engineer, Reseo
   Phil Leahy, Director (Asia Pacific), SEO Moves
   WaiHong Fong, Managing Director, OzHut Pty Ltd




22 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

				
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